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Case Study

Empowering Women in Healthcare: A Journey to Support and Enhance Female Clinician Leadership at Kaiser Permanente


Participants reported a substantial 25% rise in their perceptions of success in accomplishing daily tasks. 


Participants experienced an increase of 18%  in their ability to maintain resilience.

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Participants saw a 9.43% increase in confidence in their ability to navigate stress. 

About Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente, a leading healthcare organization committed to providing high-quality care, recognized the pressing need to address the challenges faced by its female clinicians. In collaboration with Valor Performance, a premier 1:1 performance mindset and leadership coaching platform, Kaiser Permanente embarked on a journey to empower and support female clinicians facing burnout and other professional hurdles.

Before working with Valor, Kaiser Permanente's Washington Permanente Medical Group (WPMG)’s survey data, including results from Press Ganey and Mini Z, highlighted challenges clinicians faced around burnout and the need to prioritize supporting female clinicians. The focus of this case study is on a cohort of female clinician leaders employed by WPMG who received Valor coaching. 

The Challenge

The challenges faced by female clinicians at WPMG, were multifaceted:

 Increased Burnout and Turnover

Surveys conducted in 2021 revealed a surge in burnout and turnover among WPMG clinicians, with female clinicians reporting significantly higher rates of burnout (74%) compared to males (56%). 

Gender Disparity

In general, female physicians are more likely to leave their positions than their male counterparts, leading to a growing gender gap in leadership roles. At WPMG, they were also three times more likely to report negative experiences at work due to gender.


 Lack of Support and Valuation

Female clinicians at WPMG felt 12% less likely to be valued by the organization, highlighting a need for greater support and recognition.

“Valor coaching can fill a need for groups who are at higher risk for burnout and provide both individual development and community with their cohort, improving trust and belonging across the organization.”


Dr. Mary Wierusz, Chief Wellness Officer | Kaiser Permanente

The Solution

Valor Performance devised a comprehensive solution tailored to the specific needs of WPMG’s female clinician leaders. Their approach prioritized individualized and confidential coaching, creating a safe space for each participant's unique challenges, while also bringing the group together to foster cohesion, belonging, and the sharing of diverse perspectives. 

A hybrid coaching model combining group and one-on-one sessions provided a holistic support system that allowed participants to draw from shared experiences while also receiving personalized guidance. Participants benefited from access to six one-on-one coaching sessions and three group coaching sessions, fostering a sense of community. Furthermore, Valor’s approach of seamlessly blending science-backed digital exercises, offered flexibility for professional and personal development regardless of busy schedules. Valor’s tailored 1:1 coaching sessions focused on key areas relevant to the participants like work/life balance, time and energy management, boundaries, and stress management, while also addressing top coaching themes such as choices and priorities, communication, burnout, and balance.

Valor skillfully translated the insights gained from individual coaching sessions into tailored group sessions enabling participants to share learnings on leadership development, career transitions, confidence, and mindfulness. As these group sessions progressed, participants dove deeper into topics proven to mitigate stress and burnout such as values, boundaries, and time and energy management, highlighting the effectiveness of Valor's approach in meeting the diverse and timely needs of the group. Dr. Mary Wierusz, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Washington Permanente Medical Group, elaborated: 

“Our approach to clinical well-being has focused on not only individual and team interventions, but also addressing the broader organizational and cultural issues that impact professional fulfillment. The Valor platform and approach with both group and individual coaching develops leaders across the organization who act as wellness ambassadors, embedding a culture of wellness throughout.”

The Results

“We’ve seen steady improvement in nearly all areas of clinician well-being in our Mini-Z assessment over the last few years. This is due in part to our many programs that provide collegiality, personal development, community, and foster a culture of well-being, including Valor coaching.”


Dr. Mary Wierusz, Chief Wellness Officer | Kaiser Permanente

Clinician Engagement

WPMG's collaboration with Valor Performance coaching not only delivered outstanding results that surpassed initial expectations across various pivotal domains but also affirmed its significant influence on performance, job satisfaction, and increased resilience. The program's success became evident right from the start, with sign-ups at WPMG exceeding available spots by threefold within the first hour of opening registration. The overwhelming demand from participants for more sessions initially planned at 3 1:1 coaching sessions and 3 group sessions, prompted WPMG and Valor to respond by doubling the offer, providing access to a total of 6 1:1 sessions.

Trisha Harris, Program Manager at WPMG, expressed enthusiasm about the continued interest in the opportunity, noting: 

“We are excited about the continued interest in this opportunity; the applicants keep rolling in!”

Performance Enhancement and Job Satisfaction

An impressive 72.8% of participants perceived improved effectiveness and performance at work, leading to greater job satisfaction among 63.6% of respondents. Through this result, it’s evident that Valor's tailored coaching approach not only improved their skills but also contributed to increased job contentment, fostering a sense of support and recognition from WPMG. 

Improved Work Perception and Success

While participants reported a 5.88% increase in their perception of the mental demands of their work, a factor largely outside of their control given the nature of their work, they also saw  a substantial 25% rise in their perceptions of success in accomplishing daily tasks. Working with Valor’s coaches not only enabled participants to better cope with professional demands but also bolstered their confidence in achieving their objectives.

Perceived Stress

Utilizing the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a commonly-used psychological survey, WPMG observed a noteworthy reduction in perceptions of stress among participants. After taking part in the  group coaching sessions and just 3 of the 1:1 coaching sessions with Valor, program participants had already experienced a 3.91% reduction in their perceived stress levels.

This outcome aligns with research from Mayo Clinic on the impact of professional coaching to mitigate emotional exhaustion contributing to burnout with a 17% decrease in stress through virtual coaching. This highlights the significant and sustained positive impact of coaching on stress management and burnout reduction by not only significantly lowering stress levels, as demonstrated by the substantial decrease in PSS scores, but also by equipping participants with effective coping strategies and resilience-building techniques to navigate the high-pressure healthcare environment more effectively.

Resilience and Stress Management

Participants in the program also experienced a remarkable transformation in their ability to manage stress. They reported an 18% increase in their resilience, with 18% rating their capacity to perform at a high level sustainably under stress as a 6 on a scale of 1 to 7. This outcome reflects a substantial boost in managing stress effectively, allowing them to maintain peak performance without risking burnout. 

Additionally, participants felt 9.43% more confident in their ability to navigate the stresses associated with both work and personal life, highlighting the program's success in equipping them with valuable stress management strategies to balance their professional and personal responsibilities.

Decreased Burnout

At the outset of Valor coaching, a striking 50% of participants candidly reported that they were grappling with burnout and displayed one or more associated symptoms. An additional 20% revealed that their burnout symptoms lingered, and they often found themselves ruminating on work-related frustrations. The remaining 30% described facing occasional stress and diminished energy levels without reaching the point of full-blown burnout.

Upon re-evaluation after 3 individual coaching sessions and 3 group coaching sessions had been completed, a noteworthy transformation had occurred. Only 40% of participants still affirmed they were definitively burned out and exhibited associated symptoms, marking a substantial 10% reduction. Meanwhile, 60% reported experiencing occasional stress and reduced energy, but no longer identified as being in a state of burnout. This shift from burnout to sporadic stress reflects a remarkable enhancement in their overall mental and emotional resilience.

The difference with Valor

The collaboration between WPMG and Valor Performance has introduced a transformative approach to support female clinician leaders at WPMG. Valor recognized the unique challenges these women face and tailored their hybrid coaching model to cater to their specific needs. This emphasis on personalization allowed each participant to address their individual hurdles, fostering empowerment and agency, while also providing a support system rooted in shared experiences.

The swift and substantial results underscored the immediate recognition of the program's value. It effectively addressed the multifaceted challenges faced by female clinicians, instilling a sense of confidence, resilience, and empowerment, making Valor Performance a pivotal partner in the journey to support and empower female clinician leadership at WPMG.

“Having a tailored program that supports both individual leadership development and builds community has been a vital part of developing a culture of wellness across our organization.” - Dr. Mary Wierusz, Chief Wellness Officer

Key Takeaways

Personalized Coaching Yields Remarkable Results:

Tailored, confidential coaching focusing on mindset and leadership can have a significant impact on addressing burnout, increasing job satisfaction, and enhancing performance among female clinician leaders, even in a relatively short amount of time.

 Stress Management and Burnout Reduction Are Achievable: 

The coaching program significantly reduced stress levels and burnout symptoms, while simultaneously enhancing participants' resilience and confidence in their ability to navigate high-pressure healthcare environments. 

Creating Supportive Work Environments Drives Success: 

Organizations can make rapid strides in addressing pressing challenges when they invest in performance coaching and support their female clinicians. This recognition of value stems from the fact that female clinicians who feel valued and supported in their roles are more likely to experience job satisfaction and be more engaged at work.

 WPMG data, 2021

Dudley, J, McLaughlin, S., & Lee T.H. (2022). “Why So Many Women Physicians Are Quitting.” Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/01/why-so-many-women-physicians-are-quitting. Accessed 2 November 2023

WPMG data, 2021

 Mini Z and Press Ganey Surveys, 2021

Dyrbye, Liselotte. “Professional Coaching and Surgeon Well-being: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” PubMed, 1 April 2023, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36000783/. Accessed 26 September 2023


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